Property: Reimagining the New Town square

A small-scale contemporary take on an Edinburgh townhouse offers high style and low maintenance in a superb central location, writes Kirsty McLuckie

20 Dublin Street Lane South
20 Dublin Street Lane South

Standing detached among the traditional townhouses on all sides, the mews house at 20 Dublin Street Lane South in the east of Edinburgh’s New Town is a unique property.

The home’s sharp lines, industrial finish and minimalist aesthetic are in sharp contrast to the surrounding Georgian architecture. Inside, you could say that its layout is a scaled-down version of its neighbours.

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Set over three floors, the property - priced at £860,000 - has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a ground-floor dining kitchen and a first-floor sitting room. There is even space for a balcony at the back of the house.

20 Dublin Street Lane South

Robbie Wotherspoon bought the site in March, 2019. He had some experience with Edinburgh mews homes, completing a conversion of one in the close-by Albany Street Lane in 2005, after similar projects in London through his residential development company, Northfort, which he runs alongside a career in commercial property.

The site in Dublin Street Lane South had been a nine-space car park serving a nearby office. When the office was redeveloped by Knight Property Group, the car park was sold with planning permission for a single house.

Wotherspoon recalls: “I tweaked the plans, taking out a garage to create more living space, first working on the design with CMA and then Jens Bergmark of Bergmark Architects, to make the most of the space we had.”

With its superb central location in mind, the initial idea was for Wotherspoon to retain the house after completion and let it out on a short-term basis. Consequently, number 20’s finish was informed by this intended use, including the instalation of high-quality fittings and energy-efficient additions in a low-maintenance property.

20 Dublin Street Lane South

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the build, which began at the end of 2019 and originally had a planned completion date of September last year. It also meant that Wotherspoon was forced to oversee the project remotely from his home in the English Midlands.

He explains: “Normally, I would be travelling up during the week to the office in Edinburgh. Travel restriction means I haven’t actually seen the house for some months, so I had to rely on working remotely with local firms who – fortunately – I’d worked with before.”

Ross Young of Blackhall Developments carried out the building works, while Leith -based Kitchens by Nick McNally designed and fitted the German Stormer kitchen with its midnight-blue units, quartz worktops and copper taps and door handles.

The bath and shower rooms, one on each floor, are by another Edinburgh firm, Victor Paris.

20 Dublin Street Lane South

Furnishing and dressing the property for sale was carried out by another of Wotherspoon’s trusted collaborators, Edinburgh property stylist Emma Lennox.

He says: “Picking colours virtually was never going to work, so I just told Emma which colours I really didn’t want, and let her pull together the whole look, which has turned out really well.”

Muted colours contrast well with stylish geometric tiling and the beautiful painted oak staircase.

As with all new-builds, energy efficiency was a planning permission requirement, but Wotherspoon doubled the rows of solar panels on the roof, saying: “I wanted really low running costs.

20 Dublin Street Lane South

“Obviously, in a tight site you are limited, so we were delighted to get permission for three floors and really make the most of the space.

“The design has the top floor set back slightly, which allows more light throughout the house, but also creates the small balcony at the back which is a great feature.

“It is obviously a very different offering to a Georgian flat in this area, and a modern build like this will not have the same scale and height.

“However, for a detached four-bedroomed house in the New Town, I think it is a really practical alternative.”


Area In the heart of the city’s Georgian New Town, Dublin Street Lane South is within a few hundred metres of John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Multrees Walk and George Street.

Close to Broughton Street for smaller shops, restaurants and bars, while Stockbridge and the West end are also within easy reach. The National Portrait Gallery and the Playhouse Theatre are nearby.

Schools Independent schools in easy reach include The Edinburgh Academy, Heriot Watt, Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools and Fettes College.

The house is in the catchment area for Broughton Primary and Drummond Community high schools.

Interior Four bedrooms, three bath or shower rooms, superb fitted dining/kitchen with integral appliances, first-floor sitting room and balcony. high-end fittings and finish throughout.

Exterior Parking spaces are available by separate negotiation.

To find out more, visit Savills.

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